(CNSNews.com) – CIA director-designate John Brennan’s stated views on the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah at times has appeared to be out of step with others in the Obama administration, which he has served as White House counterterrorism adviser since 2009.
Even before President Obama’s election, Brennan – who was Obama’s chief intelligence adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign – was promoting a shift in the U.S. approach to Hezbollah.
The Iranian- and Syrian-sponsored Shi’ite group, which also participates in Lebanese parliamentary politics, is blamed for attacks included a series of suicide bombings in Beirut in 1983 which killed more than 300 people, including 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 French troops.
In a July 2008 journal article suggesting policy on Iran for the next administration, Brennan wrote, “It would not be foolhardy, however, for the United States to tolerate, and even to encourage, greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system.”
He argued that the best hope for “reducing the influence of violent extremists within the organization – as well as the influence of extremist Iranian officials who view Hezbollah primarily as a pawn of Tehran – is to increase Hezbollah’s stake in Lebanon’s struggling democratic processes.”
Brennan wrote that doing so would require the U.S. to persuade Israel to drop its “aim of eliminating Hezbollah as a political force.”